AZ Creative Communities invite municipalities to explore creative potential

Arizona communities are increasingly tapping one of their most valuable but least utilized resources: local creativity.

Arizona mayors, cities, towns and councilpersons are invited to apply to participate in a collaborative program focused on identifying creative assets, addressing challenges and discovering new opportunities in support for their communities’ goals.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the state, ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Southwest Folklife Alliance issued the invitation to the municipalities, according to a press release.

“Arizona communities face complex challenges, and resources are often under pressure,” said Jaime Dempsey, deputy director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, in the press release.

“Yet it is also true that every community in the 48th state has unique creative assets — some recognized, some still undiscovered. We believe in Arizona’s creative potential, and look forward to working with residents to cultivate some creative possibilities in support of Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods.”

The AZ Creative Communities Institute offers small teams, made up of diverse community members, a unique opportunity to explore the many ways Arizona’s creativity can be put to work for positive community impact.

AZ CCI teams will become part of an active learning network, with opportunities to learn from and with local and national experts, and peers from other Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

“Arizona is rapidly becoming a hub for the exploration of creative solutions, with internationally-renowned field leaders and experts converging here and engaging with the rich intellectual, artistic, and cultural capital of our communities,” said Jake Pinholster, associate dean of policy and initiatives for the Herberger Institute, in the press release.

“One of ASU’s and the Herberger Institute’s fundamental responsibilities is to bring artists, university resources, and community leaders together to help Arizona communities thrive. The AZ CCI provides a powerful opportunity to do just that.”

In the second half of the 12-month institute, each participating community will host an embedded artist residency. The focus and format of each artist residency will be collaboratively-designed between the community team and embedded artists, selected through a separate statewide call.

Overall, selected teams will see between $15,000-$20,000 invested in their communities over 12 months in cash grants, artist services, and direct support, the press release stated.

Those interested in assembling a team to apply are encouraged to visit There, potential applicants will find additional information about the AZ CCI, including application and eligibility requirements.

The deadline for teams to apply is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, May 24.

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